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In the 1980s, toy manufacturers decided to succumb to the demand for African-American dolls and began flooding store shelves with their attempts at equal-opportunity playthings. But too often the ethnic dolls were pitiful prototypes rushed into mass production. An early stab at a black Barbie was just the original blonde goddess of the nipped waist and giant rack, only with a dark-ass tan and a bad semi-wavy wig. Today there are many beautiful dolls of color crafted by artists, many of which will be on display at Doll Noir IV. The gallery show focuses on the art of black-doll-making and features the work of several artists skilled in the techniques of tinting porcelain and curling teeny-tiny wigs. Many of the figurines are too fine for child’s play, but even when just on display, they beat playing house with a Barbie in blackface. Visit the valley of the dolls from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (see City List for other dates) at the Graham Collection, 3518 12th St. NE. Free. (202) 832-9292. (Sarah Godfrey)